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Long Time Coming

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,158 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Stephen Swan is amazedwhen he hears that the uncle he thought had been killed in the Blitz is actually alive. For nearly four decades, Eldritch Swan has been locked away in an Irish prison and now, at last, has been released. Shocked and suspicious, Stephen listens to the old man’s story and is caught up in a tale that begins at the dawn of World War II, when Eldritch work ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Bantam (first published November 20th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,897)
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Dale Harcombe
I used to read a lot of Robert Goddard books and enjoyed them immensely, so when my husband borrowed this from the library and enjoyed it I thought I would read it to before it went back. I got into it very quickly and enjoyed the mystery surrounding uncle Eldritch and why he had been imprisoned for so long as well as the mystery with the Picassos. The story is told from two time frames 1940, which is Eldritch's story and 1976 which follows his nephew Stephen Swan and then his interactions with ...more
F.R.
May 18, 2011 F.R. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There’s the kernel of a good book here: a roguish uncle returns from the dead and soon embroils his nephew in a mystery concerning a long ago art fraud and a very dubious part of English/Irish history. Ostensibly set in the seventies, it flashes back repeatedly to the forties with the two narratives intertwining. If done right – conjuring a good sense of time and place, while revealing its secrets judiciously – then this could be a nifty little suspense yarn.

Unfortunately, there’s no way I can p
...more
Martin Fautley
Apr 25, 2011 Martin Fautley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hooray. A thriller finally written by someone who writes in sentences, speaks English, and keeps the plot moving without having to pretend it's the screenplay for an airhead action film! Or maybe I've read too much trash recently?

Nicely placed story set in 1970s and WW2, concerning characters, spy plots, smuggled diamonds, and forged pictures. Moves along with good level of detail, and doesn't assume the reader has the IQ of an Ant. Dirty dealings of Gov't in UK and Ireland, and complex sub- and
...more
GS Nathan
Glad I checked out this book. The British have always had a lock on the stories about scoundrels who had moral lines they don't cross, dubious heroes, if you like that description, and Robert Goddard's story about Mr. Eldritch Swan falls in that category. Of course the counterpoint is his nephew, the real hero of the story. But in a story that switches between the 70's and the late 30's he manages to spin a very good yarn. Some parts, especially where a government secret service is too ready to ...more
Ms.pegasus
Nov 20, 2011 Ms.pegasus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anglophiles, mystery lovers,
Shelves: fiction, suspense
The elements of suspense are skillfully orchestrated in LONG TIME COMING. The contemporary (1976) narrative, seen primarily though the eyes of Stephen Swan alternate with the backstory occurring in 1940, primarily from the third-person observation of Stephen's uncle, Eldritch Swan, participant, among other things, in a forgery scam of priceless Picassos. This dual narrative allows the author to approach the problem of creating suspense from different angles. Stephen's dilemmas include a successi ...more
Sherflei
This mystery spanning decades marginally kept me engaged through the first 3/4 of the book. In the end, I was rewarded with a good conclusion and would recommend this book to a patient reader.

Summary: Eldritch swan is released Dom an Irish prison after 35 years. He contacts his nephew Stephen, and together they try to uncover proof that because of paintings were forged 35 years ago. Why was Eldritch in prison? Conditions of his release don't allow him to say, however Oldrich claims that he did
...more
Lara
Nov 22, 2010 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I always look forward to a new Robert Goddard, though don't think I would persist if his earliest ones hadn't been so good. This one vaguely mixes anglo-irish politics with an art scam. I liked how the story moved back to the 1940's and then to the 70's. Usual Goddard convoluted plotting, but I did read another book in the middle so not quite unputdownable as I have found some earlier ones.
Mbm
Jan 18, 2011 Mbm rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few of Goddard's novels but none of the earlier ones more cherished by his devotees.The majority of them have been readable and entertaining,although one or two have been awful.This I found to be pleasantly diverting at least.

Goddard is very good at whisking his reader around the map book.You're shuttled around provincial Britain,continental Europe and even further afield in his work at regular intervals.At times this lends a paradoxical cosiness to proceedings,at others an annoying
...more
Robert Intriago
Apr 22, 2010 Robert Intriago rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The book is divided into two subplots. The first one takes place in 1976 and it involves the theft of a blue period Picasso art collection. The story is interesting but the author relies on several forced subterfuges to construct the plot. Characters appear out of the blue to fill gaps in the story. These mysterious appearances force you to backtrack to the beginning of the book to find where you first heard the name before.
The other subplot deals with 1940. It has some very interesting historic
...more
Susan
Aug 31, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geologist Stephen Swan comes home to find an uncle that he was told died during the Blitz, but has just been just released after 36 years in an Irish prison for an unspecified crime. The uncle is hired to prove the truth about the ownership of a trove of Picassos stolen at the outbreak of WWII and enlists Stephen to help. He predictably falls in love with Rachael Banner, the somewhat obsessed granddaughter of the man from whom the paintings were stolen. The plot is complex and revealed in layers ...more
Trish
May 12, 2010 Trish rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have loved Goddard's writing from day one and have all his books on my shelves. I considered him a great secret, since he was never promoted, but his books would show up on my local bookstores shelves, only one copy, even of a new title. This time, however, we got more than one copy, and it turns out to have been the worst of the lot. The characters missed by a long shot--not realistic in the slightest, nor particularly likeable, any of them, except the old black valet at the end. No, don't go ...more
 Olivermagnus
Jan 19, 2016 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it
Stephen Swan is surprised when his uncle Eldritch, whom he had thought was dead, is released from an Irish prison after 36 years. Eldritch refuses to tell anyone why he was imprisoned or why he's been unexpectedly released. It's not long before other people are trying to find Eldritch and soon Stephen finds himself drawn into a mystery that began in 1940.

We discover that just before WWII Eldritch returned to England from Belgium, where he worked for a Jewish diamond merchant and art collector.
...more
Janebbooks
Feb 25, 2015 Janebbooks rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: art and mystery lovers

A TROVE OF PICASSO'S....by janebbooks
A Review of LONG TIME COMING by Robert Goddard

What could be better than a stolen trove of Picasso paintings and a bit of Irish history? Robert Goddard's latest publication LONG TIME COMING has both. It's a spellbinding novel!

The time is 1976. Eldrich Swan is released from a Irish prison after 36 years imprisonment. He returns to England and is recruited to recover the Picasso's, currently the property of an American tycoon and in exhibition at the Royal Acade
...more
Joe Stamber
Aug 06, 2012 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
While on holiday in Cyprus I discovered a "library" of books that people had left for others to enjoy. I dutifully left Ken Follett's Code To Zero there after finishing it and was delighted to find this fairly new Robert Goddard book. As usual, Goddard delivers an enjoyable and easily readable mystery that jumps between time zones and locations with spanners thrown into the works at regular intervals. The Irish troubles are woven brilliantly into the narrative as Goddard produces another excelle ...more
Linda Schwartz
Jun 04, 2010 Linda Schwartz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always hate it when I get more than 50% through a Robert Goddard book because I know the end is getting closer. Fantastic writer with complex plotting, yet not complicated or difficult to follow. This plot moves back and forth from the early days of WWII to the mid-1970s and involves a question of a mysterious imprisonment and stolen/forge Picassos. Goddard is a gem, as usual.
Troy
Jun 01, 2016 Troy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I get that these books are plot driven, not character driven, so I shouldn't be disappointed that the characters act so unbelievably and are so far removed from anything actually human that it renders the plot superfluous..

It's just painful how these characters interact. What we need to go along with here is that long lost Uncle Eldrich has been let out of an Irish prison and sworn to secrecy about why he was there in the first place. Then almost immediately embarks on a complex adventure a
...more
Sandie
Those who like nothing better that to curl up with a good read that keeps their grey matter engaged will find Robert Goddard's LONG TIME COMING their kind of book. It has all the necessary ingredients - a riveting plot and a well drawn cast of characters interwoven with historical figures that combine in just the right way to provide literate entertainment as he deftly mixes politics, corruption, and a maze of scandalous circumstances in a diabolical plot.

Each Goddard work that I read just gets
...more
Diane Macaluso
I slogged my way through this one. I thought of just returning it, but found that I wanted to know how it ended. I'm thinking I might have enjoyed it more some other time! Oh, well!
CLM
Apr 09, 2011 CLM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, uk, 21st-century
This started off a little slow but like all Goddard pulls in the reader, fascinates and confuses her, then reveals every carefully thought out thread at the end...
Maryann MJS1228
Dear Robert Goddard, where did it all go wrong? We met in South Africa and you kept me company on the long flight home. Then we'd meet up once a year for whirlwind of historically informed adventure. It was great until without warning my sure bet was Found Wanting. But anyone can have a bad day, or a bad book, so I was back for more with Long Time Coming with nary a reservation.

I'm sorry to report that this book is the equivalent of having your date to the opera show up wearing a clown suit. It
...more
Sep
Jul 17, 2016 Sep rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend, whose initials used to be TS, gave me this book. I had never heard of Robert Goddard but was impressed. The story alternates between 1976 and 1940. Stephen Swan comes home to England to find that the uncle he was told had died in the blitz was in his mother's spare room. Where he's been for 36 years, how he got there, and how this affects the present (1976) is Mr. Goddard's clever and keeps-you-guess plot. Recommended to people who enjoy suspense and adventure without a lot of the gore ...more
Bettie☯
Read by David Rintoul. 11 Hrs 3 Mins

Description: Eldritch Swan is a dead man. Or at least that is what his nephew Stephen has always been told. Until one day Eldritch walks back into his life after 36 years in an Irish prison. He won't reveal any of the details of his incarceration, insisting only that he is innocent of any crime. His return should be of interest to no-one. But the visit of a solicitor with a mysterious request will take Eldritch and his sceptical nephew from sleepy seaside Paig
...more
Bryan Higgs
By my count, this is number 21 on my quest to read all of Robert Goddard's books, in chronological order by publish date.

This one is the best I've read of his for some time. The plot is complex (with, of course, the required hallmark plot twists of a Goddard book), set in interesting and historic times, with chapters moving backwards and forwards between 1976 and 1940. The author does an outstanding job of slowly peeling off the layers of the onion of the plot, and I, at least, did not guess wha
...more
Sheri
Nov 01, 2013 Sheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
This was good for what it is. Meaning, of course that it is just a "candy book". There is nothing really profound here, there are no points of wisdom; it is simply a fairly compelling mystery novel and easy page turner.

I did not find the plot particularly surprising or suspenseful and the characters were rather thin, but it kept me entertained. I was most annoyed with Rachel's character. First, I did not understand her reasoning behind the bitterness of having grown up poor-ish because of the t
...more
Jeremy
Sep 11, 2011 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely Brilliant, but don’t be fooled by the rifle on the cover. I think only one shot rings out in the entire book. This is more your Smiley’s people territory and considers the real threat that existed during the second world war when Britain feared that Irelands Eamon de Valera may side with Hitler and let the Germans ashore to invade Britain from the west. Cue some “old school” relationships and very underhand dealings and we have some espionage and double crossing to set the scene – alt ...more
Anne
Aug 29, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid suspense tale from Robert Goddard. Like many of his books, this one centers on a crime that happened in the past. The book opens in 1976, when Eldritch Swan is released from an Irish prison after 36 years for a crime he did not commit. After his release, he is offered money to prove that a collection of Picasso paintings was stolen in 1940. He knows that they were, because he helped steal them.

The story alternates between 1976 and 1940, with an epilogue set in the present day. Eldr
...more
Cphe
Oct 30, 2013 Cphe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-historical
The most interesting facet to this sweeping mystery, thriller book is the setting. Ireland during the second world war both England and Germany are intent on coaxing Ireland from her neutrality, by fair means or foul.

The story is based around Eldritch Swan, who literally returns from the dead, after spending thirty six years as a guest of the Irish prison system. Along with his nephew Stephen they investigate the theft of several Picasso paintings during the war.

The book takes place in the late
...more
LG
Jul 16, 2014 LG rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Swan is an awesome name, and Eldritch Swan more so. And Rachel Banner? That’s a Marvel superhero, or at least her alter ego. The Belgian diamond trade, references to Conrad’s Congo, the start of the Second World War, stolen Picassos, postwar moves and countermoves – and 1970s IRA thrown in for good measure. I wanted to like this book, as I’ve enjoyed every other one I’ve read by Goddard, one of suspense fiction’s most unsung masters. Sadly, none of the above characters or settings were p ...more
Stephanie
May 11, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-crime
Pleasantly surprised by this thriller which was much more convoluted and well-plotted than I expected. It jumps between two main time periods - the 1940s and the 1970s - and I was interested in the differences in detail between the two. Subsequent generations of several families become involved in the intrigues which does mean I needed to keep awareness of who was who, but overall an enjoyable read.
Tagra
Apr 09, 2013 Tagra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I give up. I hate leaving books unfinished, but when I put off reading for several months, it's time to move on and read something interesting again.

It started out so promising! Mysterious motivations and intrigue, espionage and promises of action, plot twists! And somewhere roughly 30-40% of the way in, it all became so... so... incredibly generic. All the words started blurring together and I just didn't give a shit anymore. But I couldn't stop reading - what if it got better!!!! I spent sever
...more
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In a writing career spanning more than twenty years, Robert Goddard's novels have been described in many different ways - mystery, thriller, crime, even historical romance. He is the master of the plot twist, a compelling and engrossing storyteller and one of the best known advocates for the traditional virtues of pace, plot and narrative drive.
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